the waterworks continue
Will you give me oral pleasure?
I was casually skimming through Pulp Fiction the other day and watched scenes from the Bruce Willis portion. It's the storyline that's easiest to forget since it feels less energized by Tarantino's then shockingly fresh auteurial voice and rapid pop-culture infused dialogue and more like a general riff on cliché movie tropes (the boxer who won't take a fall, an antihero on the run, etcetera)... well at least until The Gimp shows up. But watching it again, I was reminded that Quentin Tarantino's movies used to be more firmly rooted in accessible humanity. We didn't know it at the time of course because his work was then so "new" and stylized that it didn't feel intimate in the way the movies have taught us to expect. But post-Jackie Brown his work became increasingly cartoonish (this is not always a bad thing: I sometimes think Kill Bill Vol 1 is his best film) and though his characters are still deeply memorable they're more like "characters" than people...
Consider the post-coital (post-69?) shower sequence between Butch (Willis) and his girlfriend Fabienne (Maria de Medeiros). It has its idiosyncracies to be sure.
Butch: I think I cracked a rib?
Fabienne: By giving me oral pleasure?
Butch: No, retard. From the fight.
Butch launches into a non PC imitation of his girlfriend as said retard. This infuriates her as she aggressively towel dries her hair. He can't find a dry towel and makes the only kind of apology a guy like him who loves teasing his woman would make.
Butch: Will you hand me a dry towel Miss Beautiful Tulip?
Fabienne: Oh, I like that. I like being called Tulip. Tulip is much better than mongoloid.
Butch: I didn't call you a mongoloid, I called you a retard. And I took it back.
Butch: Yes, Lemon Pie.
Fabienne: Where are we going to go?
He sits down to towel off out of frame (the frame is much wider than this with more room on the left - I made a mistake in photoshop so I apologize for the incorrect aspect ratio). She brushes her teeth as the conversation turns serious. She's worried -- without stating it directly -- that they're now on the run and he gently distracts her with terms of endearments (he prefers edible names... which explains the oral pleasure) and impromptu Spanish lessons in case they head south.
You'll be my little mamacita in no time."
This flirtatious interlude in the bathroom is, in retrospect considering where Tarantino has gone, surprisingly calm and even sweet. It's recognizably human-scaled. It's the calm before the storm and it's beautifully judged.
Do you wish Tarantino would do something more intimate again? Do you ever think about this spoke in Pulp Fiction's plot wheel?